So, BrickFair goers and fellow BZP members: who's willing and able to take a tour of Washington, D.C. sights on Monday, August 5th?
(I wanted to put this out there well in advance of the 'Fair to make sure people are aware of what's being planned.)
BUMPED 7/24 BECAUSE BRICKFAIR IS LIKE A WEEK AWAY ??? I'M PUMPED
We left for the Mall of America at 12:20 and arrived a few minutes later. It's strange seeing the place - there's really nothing quite like it.
It's not because of the shops. It's because they have roller coasters inside.
We walked through this gigantic area en route to the LEGO store, but had enough time to get all-day wristband passes to (nearly) all the rides. The kiddie rides are mixed in with the larger ones and the larger ones were built over, around, and occasionally inside each other. The one we rode first was sponsored by Pepsi and had no real theme to it save for a gigantic Pepsi logo.
We got to the LEGO store which we poked around a bit, discussing the modular series with employees and admiring their three-story Pick-A-Brick wall. (There was no way to get to the top levels of parts which were repeats of parts found down below; the wall is mostly for show.)
This is where we met Paleo and, briefly, his mother. (I asked him if he dreamed about farm animals.) Paleo and I went to get a wristband, but the machine proceeded to break on him as soon as he swiped his credit card and did not print out a wristband. Fortunately various employees came over, voided the transaction, and supplied him with a wristband.
As this point we all put Spongebob-themed hats on our heads for some reason and took insane pictures.
The next stop was one of the more fun rides - I forget the name of the thing, but is carries four people and spins you around as you go down hills and around tight turns. Each time we rode it was different because each car they have spins just a wee bit differently. (The second-to-last time we rode it, the car was very loose and spun around at an alarming and possibly dangerous rate. We got the same car the last time around but they had apparently tightened it up.)
While in the line for this ride Paleo found a small pile of pennies barely within reach along a small ledge on a wall. I don't know whose they were but whoever they are, they're out roughly eleven cents.
Paleo and I attempted to get on a ride where you get harnessed in and walk a series of planks and ropes up three stories. However, this ride was not included on our wristband and neither of us felt like paying more for 45 minutes of tedious walking around three stories high.
Having not eaten breakfast at this point, we got ice cream (a dairy product and thus acceptable for breakfast) and meandered around the theme park area for a while talking about various dumb things that I can't really remember at this point. Somewhere in here we met back up with my mom and dad and we headed over to do another ride themed around the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which is just about the single dumbest concept for a show in the recent history of ever.
This ride was interesting because of its uniqueness - you get locked down into seats that have wings on them. The seats can be rotated left and right by moving the wings, but the seats could neither lean forward nor spin. Each seat was attached to a large pole, which was controlled by a massive spinning hand which was set at an angle. The large counterweight would have kept the ride spinning indefinitely, as you climbed up three floors and then flew back down to your feet nearly touching the ground. To stop it, the brakes had to be engaged at the apex of the flight.
Somewhere in here we went to a Peeps store and looked around at all manner of Peeps-related items including large plushies, small hats, and mouse pads. We found a reincarnation of Toxic Waste Bunny amidst all this which we all rubbed our faces on for posterity.
Also in this store was a Mike & Ike candy dispenser. I found no difference between Mike & Ike and regular jelly beans, aside from the shape of the candy. Present in one section of the store was a display where you placed your hand with a gigantic stylized thermometer next to it to tell you how hot your hand was. I rubbed the palmprint icon like there was no tomorrow and achieved the highest level possible on the thermometer. (My dad was next, followed by Paleo and my mom at about half what I got.) I won nothing for this endeavor save for an enormous amount of disbelief in my own sanity.
(Some time before this we wore baby-sized hats and made the dumbest of faces at each other. These moments were recorded for the sake of posterity, and for emergency use if I ever begin to take myself seriously.)
After this (I think?) Paleo and I went over a bridge (over part of the water slide ride) doing Gangnam Style. We taught him my dad's "Hamster Dance" as we walked back over to the spinning ride.
Nestled within these events was a trip back to the LEGO store, where I acquired three collectible minifigures, one of which is likely the 10th series baseball player. Paleo also got a few, and we were both helped in our endeavors by a highly knowledgeable pair of enthusiastic six-year-olds.
I stopped Paleo on a number of occasions from telling me the plot of the Doctor Who season finale. All he was able to say was that "everything finally makes sense." (Please keep me away from spoilers for the next few weeks, will you?)
I know other things happened but I'm incredibly tired while writing this and I'm only remembering some bits, like when Paleo told me that the way I said something sounded British. (I wish I remember what it is that I apparently say British-like.) Also he kept telling me that I had to see the new Star Trek movie, even though it was packed with references and I have seen very little Star Trek in my life. (Two episodes of the original series, one and a half movies, an understanding of phrases that have made it into the vernacular, and the plotline to the Tribbles episode is literally all I know.)
Around 5:30, Paleo and I hopped on the Pepsi ride for the last time. This is where we somehow became interested in what US Patent No. 1 is - apparently it was given to some Senator who invented something for steam locomotives.
After departing the ride, we walked over to the LEGO store where my parents had just finished off some banana milkshakes from Orange Julius. With a little bit of time left, Paleo and I went on the spinning ride one last time before he had to leave.
On the way out we got more pictures of the place's sheer vastness. We also got a good look at a project where a bunch of people were painting old pianos to apparently get young people interested in music.
We took the shuttle back to the hotel and, being drained from being up and on our feet all day, we rested up. At 8:30 we left the hotel bound for Culver's to see Takuma Nuva. I ran in a few minutes after 9:00 and saw him (and Tom, his incredibly tall cousin) for the first time since last BrickFair. We hung out at a table, and I ate something called the S-Mizzle, a variation on the M-Drizzle (or something like that; I can't remember the exact name) that Takuma invented. It had chicken with bacon and of lettuce and pickles and mayonnaise on some toasted sourdough bread and was delicious.
Takuma could be a comedian with his sense of comedic timing. Stories of his family's trips and his experiences working at a drive-thru were made even funnier by his descriptions. (For example, he described his dad's snoring as "so loud it would vibrate you and digest things in your belly even if you were dead" and the seasons in Minnesota as "almost winter, winter, still winter, and road construction.")
Takuma was also generous enough to pay for our meal, and we promised that if we ever were within 500 miles of Minneapolis we'd make a detour. We had the first ever Cheese Curd Ceremony where I gave him a cheese curd and he ate it, in recognition of his generosity. My dad retrieved the hot dog hat from the trunk and sandwiched it in a small hatpile between Takuma's hat and Tom's hat. After this was over I donned the hot dog hat, and no sooner did I do this than a fellow who looked like a teenage Bob Costas walk of the bathroom and said "dude! I love your hat!"
(We also made a ton of puns about fire, which explains half of the entry title.)
But it was 10:30 by this time, Culver's was closing, and we had to get back to the hotel as it began to rain.
Tomorrow: Grand Forks, North Dakota. The second leg of the road trip is about to begin.
Some of my best memories of my time on TTV involved the MOCist Interviews that I did, at first along with the deep-voiced Tom (I'm unsure of his current BZP username), then with Brickeens alongside us. Eventually Tom quit, which left Brickeens and I to pester other MOCists with our silly questions.
One of the questions was about how people pronounce the term "MOC." I always have pronounced it as "em-oh-cee" - because if you "mock" someone, it sounds like you're making fun of them. If a profile tribute is the greatest possible expression of love, then an MOC tribute must be the greatest possible expression of admiration.
Well, as it turned out, nearly all of the MOCists we interviewed pronounced it as "mock," and my pronunciation of it became a running joke on the interviews. The lack of clear, obvious pronunciation is awkward for a number of small reasons. For example, my pronunciation leads me to write "an MOC," while most write "a MOC."
At first, this made me want to run a MOC, but I didn't.
(Amok, a MOC? See what I did there?)
(Okay, that was terrible I'm so sorry please put the gun down I swear I won't make any more horrible puns really)
I've actually acclimated to others pronouncing it differently, and to be fair, "mock" is much more fluid in a sentence. I still think it sounds stupid, but to each their own. I've caught myself using that pronunciation during both of the past two BrickFairs, mainly because everyone else uses it.
In the end, there's really no problem with either pronunciation. The fact that it's an acronym doesn't give us a clue as to its correct pronunciation.
No, the real problem lies in the fact that it's an acronym. (Acronyms Anonymous: where the first step to recovery is recognizing that you're an acronym.)
Acronyms are quite possibly the strangest quirk of language, and English, considered to be one of the quirkiest of all human languages, has its fair share of acronyms. To start things off, let's look at some pronunciations:
NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization): spoken as word
HTML (HyperText Markup Language): spelled out
CD-ROM (Compact Disc, Read-Only Memory): half-spelled, half-spoken
NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association): "AA" turns into "double-A" when said
Or take the recursive GNU, which stands for "GNU's Not Unix" - which, combined with the double-layered GIMP ("GNU Image Manipulation Program"), leaves a puddle where your brain used to be.
Right away, we can be thankful for two things: one, that "MOC" isn't a recursive acronym, and two ... well, there's no set pronunciation. So both ways are right.
But while this is a resolution to the initial question, let's go a bit deeper - because, as the MythBusters say, if it's worth doing, it's worth overdoing.
"MOC" has entered into the LEGO community's vernacular to a point where it gets used in speech and in text in bizarre situations, places where, if you replaced "MOC" with its constituent words, "My Own Creation," you end up with some hilariously mangled sentences. Take, for example, this excerpt of Fsnorglepuff's post in Ballom's topic Fishy:
Great design, but the eye holes in the head plate distract from the actual eyes of the MOC. Try to fit in orange pieces there.
Replacing "MOC" with "My Own Creation" leaves you with:
Great design, but the eye holes in the head plate distract from the actual eyes of the my own creation. Try to fit in orange pieces there.
Here's another excerpt, but this time of Dralcax's post in DARKSIDERZ's topic The Rahkshi Re-invented:
The torso is definitely the best part of the MOC. I love what you did with the spines and the head.
The torso is definitely the best part of the my own creation. I love what you did with the spines and the head.
Replacing it with "my own creation" leaves posts looking like they've either been caught by a new word filter or run through the bad translator a couple of times.
This isn't a phenomenon of this single term, by any means. A lot of acronyms lose their original meaning and become twisted over time to fit into sentences. Some even go so far as to lose their capitalization, and thus sever all ties with their acronymic origins. Radar, laser, and scuba are but three acronyms that are now words. If we all replaced the acronyms we use every day with their longer counterparts, we'd sound hilarious and at least a little bit incompetent.
Back to the MOC discussion for a bit before I wrap things up. Recently, I've been trying to avoid the term - not because I'm tired of pronouncing it differently, but rather because of what it stands for. "My own creation" reminds me of the "cool creations" of the LEGO magazine, which were never, ever cool. (Six-year-olds, generally speaking, don't have a concept of "color scheme.") It's also pretty redundant, and becomes a hassle if you're referring to something someone else built. In some situations, it's sort of like saying "PIN number" (Personal Identification Number number).
That's why I've taken to calling them "creations." It's simple, it's direct, and there are no concerns anent its pronunciation.
Now that's something to run a MOC about.
NEXT TIME: SUMIKI'S DAD DISCUSSES THE PHILOSOPHICAL AND MORAL ASPECTS OF MUTATED PLEXIGLAS.
Wait, hold on. Back up. Star Wars premiered. That was the important thing - some would argue that it has impacted the world more so than anything else that has its roots in 1977. (Apple, of course, would like a word with you if you agree.)
Star Wars - or, as it's known now, A New Hope - was the highest grossing film for the time, and its cultural impact was astounding. By the time the original trilogy was completed in 1983, the Star Wars franchise was a remarkable success. For a long time, it just sat there, continuing to pile up cash for George Lucas. Its fans thought of it very highly, and praised the series for pretty much all of its aspects.
At the same time, something was missing, though only Lucas saw it. His original vision for Star Wars involved a total of nine or even twelve films. This was repeated often enough by Lucas, and by those close to him, to be taken as credible, and now, with Disney's purchase of Lucasfilm, will become a reality. Like any other story, as it evolved, Lucas's vision changed. Instead of being the story of a group of people, Star Wars became about Anakin Skywalker: his powers, his fall, and his eventual redemption. Lucas talked of a nine-film arc as late as 1994, but it soon became clear that the "original" version of the sequel trilogy, as he envisioned it, wouldn't come to pass.
Soon enough, 1997 came along, and with it Lucas began to enrage his fans with the release of the "Special Edition" versions of the original trilogy. I've seen the changes myself, and not being a complete Star Wars nut, I can't bring myself to see what the big deal is about Han or Greedo shooting first. (I can't ever remember which one was the original, let alone why the fans got their jimmies collectively rustled.) The rest of the changes are so minor as to be unnoticeable to all but the most dedicated fans. And I'll be honest here - some of the changes improved the overall look and feel of the films, as well as correcting some errors left over from the original versions. For example, the Special Edition version of the Rebel-Empire battle in A New Hope is much cleaner and smoother than the original, and the CGI works.
Two years after this debacle, The Phantom Menace debuts.
And the fans, for the most part, think it sucks.
But ... why? The Phantom Menace isn't the best movie ever made, but there was an undue amount of hate on it. Fans pointed to many things: the de-mystifying of the Force (in an undramatic scene, no less), an awesome villain called Darth Maul that got no characterization and little screen time save for the single best swordfighting scene in all of film. But not even the fight could escape criticism; fans viewed it as unrealistic.
(Of course, "unrealistic" is a silly word to throw around when you have a universe full of laser swords, telekinesis, space stations the size of moons that can obliterate planets, and an army of overweight teddy bears taking down a fully trained - and fully armored! - army. I'm just sayin'.)
Then came Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith, and they got ripped for pretty much the same reason: Hayden Christensen.
Ever since 2005, there have been wars over the Internet, pitting the originals against the prequels. Mainly, it's the folks who outright hate the prequels with every atom of their being versus the folks who say "well gee, the prequels weren't as good as the originals but they weren't that bad."
I agree with the latter, as does TMD.
In thinking about the subject, I slogged through pro- and anti-prequel articles, videos, and comments from all over the Internet. What I tried to do with all this was to boil it down to something simple, a statement about why the prequels are so commonly despised.
The Star Wars prequel trilogy is disliked amongst fans because it disrupted everything about what they knew about the universe they had come to love.
Between the release of Return of the Jedi and The Phantom Menace, fans created an expanded canon that built off of where Jedi left off. They left what happened before Episode IV alone. The mystery was a part of the canon. The Force was magical; Yoda didn't mention anything about midichlorians when he was teaching Luke on Dagobah.
Now, switching gears (though not really). BIONICLE.
2001 to 2003 was the "original trilogy" of BIONICLE. There was mystery about the universe, the bad guy was bad for who knows what reasons, but we didn't care because he was awesome.
Yeah, I thought so.
This is where it gets interesting, and where there are a lot of BIONICLE-Star Wars parallels. The "prequels" of BIONICLE were 2004 and 2005, when we learned that Vakama was once a depressed and possibly emo Toa of Fire who led a motley crew to the extremes of Metru Nui to find disks and destroy an oversized weed.
Huh. Maybe we should hire the Toa Metru to clean out the Kudzu that clutters up quite a bit of North Carolina.
Most of the story parallels would be silly to make, because while they have tropes in common, for the most part they're completely different stories. (Well, aside from Teridax and Emperor Palpatine: same guy, different universe.) What I'm interested in here is the fan reaction.
2004 was greeted by the BIONICLE community as being fresh, exciting, and so wonderfully new ... the sets had new molds, new colors, and more articulation than you could shake your blocky bley fist at.
As the years have dragged on, though, the distaste for '04 (and '05, to a greater extent) has grown. '01-'03 were nostalgic, simple in some ways, complex in others. The entire story was like a riddle wrapped around an enigma fried up in a conundrum with Chinese mustard dipping sauce, and there were no complaints about this, just as there were none when old Ben Kenobi taught Luke about the ways of the Force. No one asked "why are there masks on this island and why did the Toa get there?" just as no one asked "why can that wrinkled muppet lift a starfighter?"
You can see where I'm going from here. George Lucas and Greg Farshtey both have almost singlehandedly developed entire universes. In each case, their stories start out in the middle of things, and when the backstory is revealed, the fans have mixed reactions, at best.
In each case, it is due to the fact that the fan bases generate a collective idea about what came before. Each fan base has a different take - BIONICLE's is one of theorizing and speculation, while Star Wars's was one of apathy towards what begot their beloved movies. Demystification doesn't make the originals less enjoyable, but no Star Wars fan can watch any of the original movies without the voice of Jar Jar Binks taking a cheese grater to their cerebral cortex.
In each case, the "magic of the original" was lost. Metru Nui felt different from Mata Nui for the same reasons as the prequels felt different from the originals. They both couldn't have been more different from their predecessors.
In each case, the main architect of the series was vilified for changing too much original material. Greg got serious heat for revealing Makuta's real name, retconning the '01-'02 flirting, etc. This is not much different from Lucas tinkering with the movies, or informing us that midichlorians exist.
And in each case, the ones who criticize the harshest are often the ones who are most passionate about what they criticize.
NEXT TIME: SUMIKI TESTS POSITIVE FOR MIDICHLORIANS AND GETS A PHONE CALL FROM LANCE ARMSTRONG.
He's the lord of all strangeness. - Ignika: Nerd of Life
How awesome is Sumiki on a scale of 1 to 10? - Waffles
42. - Black Six
[He's] the king of wierd, the prince of practicality, the duke of durr! - Daiker
Sumiki is magic. - Cholie
Sumiki says, "Do I creeeeeeep you out?" Yes, he does. - Waffles
Sumiki is a nub. He's cool, but he's still a nub. - Ran Yakumo
"What is a Sumiki?" You may ask. But the answer to that is still unknown, even to the Sumiki itself. - Daiker
LISTEN TO SUMIKI - Cholie
Sumiki is best snickerdoodle. - Takuma Nuva
BZPower = Sumiki + McSmeag + B6. And Hahli Husky. - Vorex
What's a Sumi? Does it taste good? - Janus
I would have thought Sumiki wanted to reincarnate as a farm animal. - Kraggh
EAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH - Kakaru
Sumiki: the horse_ebooks of bzp - VampireBohrok
Everything relates to Sumiki. No really, everything. - Daiker
He's in worse mental condition than I thought. - Obsessionist
I'm just wondering why I'm looking at some cat dancing ... I suppose the answer would simply be "Sumiki." - Brickeens
I was like a beast, screaming through the mind of Sumiki at the speed of sound. I.. I wasn't strong enough to stop myself. What I saw was the end of infinity, through which one can see the beginning of time, and I will never be the same. - Portalfig
I imagine the 13th Doctor will be rather like Sumiki, at the rate we're going. - rahkshi guurahk
I was quite sure Sumiki had another set of arms stashed somewhere. - Bfahome
Note to future self: don’t try to predict Sumiki, he’s unpredictable. - Voltex
Let's be honest, I would totally have picked my main man Sumiki to lead my goose-stepping night killers anyway. We tight like that, yo. - Xaeraz
10/10, would Sumiki again. - Bfahome
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Every week, I post a new "Tuesday Tablescrap", a small MOC not worthy of a topic, but something to post and inspire me to build more.
10/25/11 - Duplo Flower
11/1/11 - Slender Man and Masky
11/8/11 - Bizarre Black Spaceship
11/15/11 - 2001 Monolith
11/22/11 - My Little Slizer 50
11/29/11 - Punching Bag
12/6/11 - Thunder and Escorts
12/13/11 - Three Concepts
12/20/11 - Kaxium Alternate
12/27/11 - None (Christmas Break)
1/10/12 - None
1/17/12 - Volant
1/24/12 - Nidman's Chute Shoop Shop
1/31/12 - None (Brickshelf down)
2/7/12 - None
2/14/12 - Atomic Lime
2/21/12 - Spearhead
2/28/12 - Glatorian Kahi
3/6/12 - Seeker
3/13/12 - Skyscraper
3/20/12 - Microphone
3/27/12 - Toa Vultraz
4/3/12 - Flammenwerferjüngeres
4/10/12 - Umbrella
4/17/12 - Lime Beetle
4/24/12 - Special - Flame Sculpture
5/1/12 - None (BZPower down)
5/8/12 - Purple Ninja
5/15/12 - The Original Sumiki
5/22/12 - 7/24/12 - None
7/31/12 - Tahu
8/7/12 - None (BrickFair)
8/14/12 - Special - Chess Set
8/21/12 - Heavily Armored Wasp
8/28/12 - Spaceship Drill
9/4/12 - Scuba Vehicle
9/11/12 - Orange Guy
9/18/12 - Strange Flying Thing
9/25/12 - Goblet
10/2/12 - None
10/9/12 - Aim .............................. Down
10/16/12 - Gold Bot
10/23/12 - Teal Mech
10/30/12 - Special - Teal Mech (#2)
11/6/12 - Bits and Pieces
11/13/12 - Two Spaceships
11/20/12 - TARDIS Interior
11/27/12 - Christmas Creep
12/4/12 - Toaraga
12/11/12 - Fireplace
12/18/12 - Abstract Duckling
12/25/12 - None (Christmas)
1/1/13 - Black Bot
1/8/13 - 1/22/13 - None
1/29/13 - Handheld Rhotuka Launcher
2/5/13 - 8/6/13 - None
8/13/13 - The Hinklebot
8/20/12 - Special - Post-Apocalyptic Piyufi
Formerly known as the Bring Back Teal Club, the Unused Colors Society is a club that serves to promote colors that are little-used or discontinued, such as teal, old purple, or metallic blue.
Akuna Toa of Sonics
Popup2: The Camel
~System Of A Down~
Thunder on the Mountain
Toa of Vahi
WORT WORT WORT
Toa Kuhrii Avohkii
Toa Neya 2011 Edition
~prisma son of dawn~
.: WoLVeRINe :.
The Great Forgetter
Thomas the Tank Engine
Oh my miru
Element lord Of Milk.
Lexuk Toa Of Insanity
Michael J. Caboose
Lord Kaitan de Storms
Toa of Dancing
The Oncoming Storm
Toa of Pumpkin
Toa Zehvor Blackout
Lord of Ice
Zarayna: The Quiet Light
Vorex: Keeper of Time
Toa of Smooth Jazz
Click to join!
Blogarithm Contest #8: The Great Vine Challenge!Makuta Luroka - Jul 30 2014 01:22 PM
Blogarithm Contest #8: The Great Vine Challenge!Kitania - Jul 30 2014 12:38 PM
HALF AN HOUR TO BRICKFAIRKitania - Jul 30 2014 12:37 PM
HALF AN HOUR TO BRICKFAIRSnubby - Jul 30 2014 11:28 AM
HALF AN HOUR TO BRICKFAIRMakuta Luroka - Jul 30 2014 10:37 AM
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If you learn one thing in life, learn this:
You should never, ever question why demons would possess a soda.
just a heads up - Cthulhu would probably eradicate mankind before bringing back Bionicle
so yeah, all I'm saying is, please think twice about this okay
nothing gets democracy flowing like erratic capitalizatION
[the NSA] couldn't say no when I offered them an ostrich farm in exchange
Sumiki -- nice try but we all know Toa Mata Nui stuffs its bra
have we mentioned hats
Shhh, I'm trying to focus on the negative to justify my dislike of history.
Also a long line of really great hats.
You have a great understanding of history, but don't forget, war, murder and other poor decisions are also huge characteristics.
To be fair, I am the one responsible for the invention of Mafia in the 1320s by seventeen bored italians locked in a mine shaft.
It's a long story.